San Angelo, TX – Today the House passed the bipartisan VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, which recently cleared the Senate with support from Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). President Trump has indicated that he will sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) has been the leading veterans group pushing for accountability reform at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) since the group was founded in 2012. Most recently, CVA ran a national grassroots campaign urging Senators to support the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 via hundreds of thousands of activist calls and emails, as well as targeted web ads and local events across the country.
CVA Texas Senior Field Director Russ Duerstine issued the following statement:
“Congress delivered a victory today for veterans across the nation through a strong VA accountability measure. This simple but crucial legislation will grant Secretary Shulkin the authority he needs to hold bad employees accountable and begin to fix the broken culture at the VA. We want to thank Senator John Cornyn, who boldly cosponsored this important legislation. We look forward to seeing President Trump’s signature on the bill so those entrusted with the care of veterans can be fired immediately for wrongdoing.”
If signed into law, the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 will reduce the time it takes to fire bad employees at the VA, give Secretary Shulkin the ability to recoup bonuses awarded to employees who are found to have engaged in misconduct, and reduce the pensions of VA employees found guilty of felonies related to their employment at the VA. The measure ensures that VA employees who are terminated will not remain on the VA payroll while appealing their terminations. The bill will also increase protections for whistleblowers to help ensure that they are not retaliated against for speaking up about wrongdoings at the department.